Teacher of the Week: Houghton emphasizes significance of government through relational education


Camila Flores

Coppell High School AP U.S. Government teacher Bybiana Houghton is The Sidekick’s Teacher of the Week because of her ability to build relationships with her students and get kids engaged in her teaching. Houghton first found her love for government in her high school debate class where she first started studying the subject.

Sarah Woo, Staff Writer

Lectures, independent work and tests may be the extent of teaching styles in a typical high school classroom. But for AP U.S. Government teacher Bybiana Houghton, interactive elements play significant roles in and out of the classroom – from class discussions to empowering relationships. This week, The Sidekick highlights Houghton as its Teacher of the Week.


Why did you choose to teach AP U.S. Government?

I got my Bachelors for political science at [the University of Texas at Arlington], and I felt I was able to easily connect with the content right away, especially when I was offered this position. When I was involved in my [Wylie High School] debate team, I started to realize I enjoyed learning about current events and facing challenges within the political climate. I fell in love with the behavior of individuals – specifically within government.


What is your favorite part of AP government?

With government, it’s much more applicable to our lives. I enjoy whenever I see the kids starting to understand concepts they can actually practice and implement in their lives. I love hearing discussion and bringing ideas to class with the students. I just love how everyone gets so involved and interested about the way things are working within our system.


What are some memorable teaching experiences?

There have been several of them. Just the relationships I get to build with students, especially when they’re eager to tell me they’re going to major in political science or get involved with government organizations. I love how they are passionate about the content, and they seek guidance to continue that passion. Another memorable moment would be when seniors come and update me about their lives and their aspirations. I love knowing they have goals they are setting for themselves and seeing these kids are willing to be challenged to grow as an individual.


Why is it important to stay informed about our government?

We live in a very divided nation. We have grown to be one-sided in almost all decisions and issues, and it is important to be aware of all perspectives in order to make informed and educated decisions. Even though someone may not care about history, they have to understand that government is always affecting the lives of others and that they can participate to benefit themselves as well.


How has teaching at CHS affected your views on the next generation of leaders?

I have felt confident about kids knowing the general ideas of how the federal government works. I have also felt confident knowing these kids are understanding why it’s important to be educated within this system and the content that is involved with it. I know these kids realize that in order to be informed, they must be involved in things like organizations and the voting process; they understand they have to do something to better society.


Is there anything unique about you that your students don’t know?

People think I am of Asian descent but in reality, my mother is from Mexico and my father is from Guatemala. My ethnicity gets confused a lot. In my free time, I love to go hiking. I guess kids also don’t know I love playing Stardew Valley and any of the Mario games on my Nintendo Switch.


Follow Sarah on Twitter @syw6338